Scientific article
Case report
Open access

Oxygen embolism after hydrogen peroxide irrigation of a vulvar abscess

Published inBritish journal of anaesthesia, vol. 88, no. 4, p. 597-599
Publication date2002-04

We report a case of venous oxygen embolism in a 33-yr-old healthy woman after irrigation of a vulvar abscess with 25 ml of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Venous oxygen embolism was diagnosed by the development of sudden hypoxia associated with a decrease in end-tidal carbon dioxide concentration from 5.3 kPa to 3.2 kPa, and a 'mill-wheel' sound on cardiac auscultation soon after injection of the solution. The patient responded to corrective treatment including the Trendelenburg position and 100% oxygen. She made an uneventful recovery. We discuss the possible causative mechanism of this embolism, the different diagnostic methods, and the controversial aspects of available treatments. We emphasize that hydrogen peroxide is a dangerous and unsuitable agent for routine wound irrigation and debridement.

  • Abscess / surgery
  • Adult
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / adverse effects
  • Embolism, Air / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / adverse effects
  • Intraoperative Care / adverse effects
  • Intraoperative Complications
  • Oxygen
  • Therapeutic Irrigation / adverse effects
  • Vulvar Diseases / surgery
  • Surgery, gynaecological
  • Infection, bacterial
  • Complications, oxygen embolism
Citation (ISO format)
HALLER, Guy Serge Antoine et al. Oxygen embolism after hydrogen peroxide irrigation of a vulvar abscess. In: British journal of anaesthesia, 2002, vol. 88, n° 4, p. 597–599. doi: 10.1093/bja/88.4.597
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0007-0912

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